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OAKLEY — This small town’s high school is one of five Idaho schools recognized for inspiring change in their communities through STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Besides Oakley High School, the other schools are Post Falls Middle School, Fairmont Junior High, Boise, Vision Charter School, Caldwell and Leadore School.

The schools were named state finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest and were selected from thousands of entries submitted nationwide, a press release said.

The five schools, which are part of 250 state finalists across the nation, will now advance as a state finalist.

The contest awards prizes worth $2 million.

Lisa Hitt, an advanced mathematics teacher at the high school, submitted the project.

“She is a great teacher and we are very proud,” Principal David Wagner said.

The project used her Algebra II students to address Oakley Dam flood prevention and preparation, Hitt said in a previous interview with the Times-News.

Her students performed calculations involving the reservoir capacity and snowpack levels to determine at what point flooding would be imminent and to calculate how quickly gravel pits would percolate flood water to the aquifer.

The idea came to her after reading a book on efforts that prevented a flood from the dam in 1984.

The contest challenges students to creatively use STEM to solve real-world issues in their communities.

The schools were selected based on creative and strategic proposals that solve complicated issues affecting their communities.

All 250 state finalists will receive one Samsung tablet for the class and have the opportunity to advance in the competition for prizes and educational opportunities. One winner from each state will be chosen.

Forty of the state winning schools will get a $20,000 Samsung technology package that includes a Samsung video kit to produce the video. The other 10 will progress as national finalists.

The 10 national finalists will attend a pitch event, where they will present the project to judge panel. Seven schools will get a $50,000 technology package for achieving national finalist status. Three grand prize winners will receive $100,000 in classroom technology and supplies.

One winner will be elected from the 10 national finalists for the Community Choice Award, and they will be eligible to win an additional $10,000 package.

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